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Finals held at the Opera House

On Friday evening Her Majesty Queen Sonja presented the prizes to the winners of the Queen Sonja International Music Competition for 2013. First prize was awarded to the Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan in this anniversary year.


The music competition, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has grown and gained prestige over the years. Some 200 singers from 47 countries applied to participate this year. After several preliminary rounds, five talented opera singers were selected to be the finalists in the competition at the Opera House on Friday evening.


The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, conducted by John Helmer Fiore, premiered the work entitled Wagner Prelude by the young Norwegian composer Jan Erik Mikalsen. This work was specially commissioned for the finals event.

The competition itself was divided into two parts in which finalists each sang one aria.

This year’s finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone, USA
  • Hamida M. Kristoffersen, soprano, Norway
  • Kristina Mkhitaryan, soprano, Russia
  • Mélissa Petit, soprano, France
  • Andrew Stenson, tenor, USA

First place went to Kristina Mkhitaryan, while Andrew Stenson and Mélissa Petit received second and third place, respectively. The winners receive a cash sum and a graphic work signed by Her Majesty, as well as recognition and prestigious engagements that will lead to new career opportunities.

More than a week

The opening ceremony at Oslo City Hall was followed by preliminary rounds and the semi-finals and then a week of concerts and master classes held throughout last week. On Thursday, 22 August, invited guests enjoyed a concert at Oscarshall Summer Palace featuring previous prizewinners.

This year’s prizewinners will perform at Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand on 29 August.

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